Do you know anything about the origin of your own name? Many of us were named by our parents in ways that held some kind of significance to them. Perhaps in a way that linked us with our grandparents or other ancestors. Or maybe we were named in the hope for our future – a prophetic word perhaps of what we could become in life. Some of us were named after great people, like a saint or a memorable person from the past. At any rate, however we came by it, our name is much more than a moniker – it’s a basis for our identity.
That’s true for us as a church as well. The Apostle Paul describes the church this as, “God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15). Being the church is an incredibly high calling, and an honour! As a community we bear the very name of the Father in Heaven, having been reconciled to Him through the work of Jesus. As such, we are given a great mandate. We are to embody the achievement of Jesus for our generation. As we grow into what it means to live as the people of God on earth right now, we present a living portrait to the rest of the world of what God intended humanity to be like. So how are we doing?
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus is a kind of “blueprint” for what it means to be the church of the Living God. This year we’ll be using this New Testament letter as the backbone of our teaching and learning together. Like Paul, we will learn about our identity as the children of God and how the Holy Spirit empowers us to live as His people in our world. And we’ll see just how practical that application is meant to be! To live as Christians is to live as Christ-imitators in the most basic and intimate relationships of our everyday lives. But it is in this way that we show the world, and one another, the true reality of God’s redemptive purpose and work in our world.
This year, may we, along with the early Christians who lived in Ephesus, recapture our first love – that grand realization of who we are in Christ, and what that means for us and the world. (Revelation 2:4) And through our recovery, may God’s Kingdom come!